Bridges News

GONE FISHING (or skiing) - Bridges Holiday Closure

GONE FISHING (or skiing) - Bridges Holiday Closure

First off, we'd like to start this post by saying a big Thank You to all of our customers, partners, colleagues, and friends. We've had another successful year providing assistive technology solutions, instruction, and support, and none of it would have been possible without you! 

We'd also like to let you know that we'll be closing our offices across Canada for the Christmas break. We will be closed from 4pm EST on Thursday, December 22nd, and reopening Monday, January 2.

Due to the Holiday closure, we will not be available to process orders, and our checkout system for our online store will been temporarily shut down. Web checkout will open again on Monday, January 3rd.

Although you won't be able to make purchases while we're away, you'll still be able to browse our store and read up on AT across our resource pages, collections, and blog posts, even checkout some of our free recorded webinars - so feel free to browse! 

We hope you have a safe and wonderful Holiday and a joyous New Year. We look forward to partnering with you again in 2017. 

 

Sincerely, 

The Bridges Team

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Toy Month at Bridges – Adapting Toys, Accessing Play

Toy Month at Bridges – Adapting Toys, Accessing Play

All the month of December,  Bridges is celebrating the power of play for individuals with special needs.

The destination for Toy Month is our Adapting Toys and Accessing Play page.  Look for links to relevant blog posts, resources and products for tips, tricks and strategies.

 

big mack accessible toy accessing play

“Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth.”
Kenneth R. Ginsburg in Pediatrics January 2007, American Academy of Pediatrics

 

In recent decades, cognitive scientists, educators, psychologists and others have been delving into the value of play.  Communication, socialization, motor and coordination, perception and discernment – practically any category of foundational skill, research has pointed to play as essential to their reinforcement and development. 

But for individuals with a physical, cognitive and sensory challenge, it may be difficult to engage in play without some tools and planning.

We’ll be looking at:

  • How to adapt battery operated toys yourself.
  • How to know if a plug-in toy or appliance can work with a Powerlink.
  • Lots of ideas on how to use these adapted toys and appliances in a variety of different ways, to get the most mileage out of them.
  • What’s a SLAT for? And how can it enhance activities?
  • How to combine different technologies together like symbolized materials or a tablet or iPod touch to get more out of toys.
  • Different modes of alternative access to toys, including switches, iPads (touch), joysticks and even eye gaze.

We recognize that these tools, like all assistive technology, are an investment in both time and money But your investment will pay off in versatility and utility.  

Look for ideas and resources on how to maximize your tools for the richest variety of activities, to make play possible and inviting for anyone.

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Chromebook Accessibility the Missing Users Guide

Chromebook Accessibility the Missing Users Guide

Chromebooks have exploded in popularity in school systems across North America. In celebration of Chromebook month Bridges shares with you our Chromebook Accessibility: the Missing Users Guide.

To download the free pdf, CLICK HERE. 

This brief reference summarises built in accessibility features in the Chromebook's OS and looks at how you can connect various assistive technology. 

Some of the topics covered include:

  • What alternative access devices you can connect to a Chromebook
  • Review of accessibility settings
  • Connecting switches
  • Voice Recognition
  • Enhancing visual presentation and access for visually impaired users

This is by no means an exhausting how-to.  For instance in the guide we point you to how to turn on the Chrome Vox screen reader but we don't go into the detail of how to use it.  That information is readily available from Google Help.

We also don't try to review 3rd party accessibility apps and extensions.

So why did we see the need to create this guide?

In some cases to enhance and customise the visual presentation of the screen there are a few different menus you have to go into.  In the guide we try to put all that info under one heading for easy reference.

In addition, Google's ethos in their help documentation is to use next to no images.  We use lots of screen shots to help you explore the different accessibility features and options.  

Also a lot of people just don't know what is possible or what isn't possible when it comes to assistive technology on a Chromebook.  Hopefully this guide will be a helpful starting point for a teacher, assistive technologist, parent, end-user or any one else who might be working in Chromebooks and supporting AT.

If you have any questions, comments or spot any errors please feel free to contact us or comment below and we'll update as soon as we can. 

Bogdan Pospielovsky

bogdan@bridges-canada.com

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